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San Diego Personal Injury Law Blog

Smartwatches distract drivers, too

As technology advances, so must the laws that protect the public from the accompanying dangers. The latest devices to come into the safety crosshairs are wearable technologies like smartwatches.

There are concerns that, just like smartphones, smartwatches contribute to the problem of distracted driving. They both are and are not "hands-free" devices. While it's true they are not handheld in the traditional sense of the word, by being worn on the wrist just below the hand, their omnipresence assures distraction is just a vibration, beep or light-up alert away from the driver.

California legalizes lane splitting for motorcyclists

In a country where the vast majority of motorists travel within the relative safety of an enclosed vehicle, motorcyclists are regularly at greater risk than other motorists for injury in any kind of collision. As more people crowd our streets and freeways, and greater numbers of them choose to ride motorcycles, it is reasonable that legislation would grow to accommodate the safety of our motorcycling public. California is once again leading the charge of progressive (and somewhat controversial) legislation to address the safety of motorcyclists by passing a statewide law officially legalizing the practice of lane splitting.

Lane splitting is one of those practices that those who do not ride motorcycles often find frustrating, while they sit stuck in traffic only to see a motorcyclist zip on past them, riding between the seemingly endless streams of cars parked on an interstate.

Chiropractor sued for Playboy model's death

Following the death of Katie May, the 34-year-old woman who had modeled in Playboy, back in February after a chiropractic alignment went drastically wrong, her ex has filed a seven-figure lawsuit on behalf of their daughter.

Last month, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office announced that May's death was attributable to "neck manipulation by chiropractor." The chiropractor, Eric Swartz, manipulated May's neck, tearing her left vertebral artery. This caused blood to be unable to reach her brain and resulted in a fatal stroke.

Car accidents result of negligent driving

An accident on the road can happen for any number of reasons. Some car accidents happen because a driver is drunk, others from distractions behind the wheel and still others from carelessness. One of the most recent California car accidents involved two cars and numerous rescue vehicles.

A report on the accident, which occurred at night, noted that a gray car in which three men were riding was traveling at a high rate of speed and ran a stop sign. A woman and three children in a black vehicle were crossing the intersection just as the other car was speeding through it. The collision was severe enough to warrant four fire engines, three air ambulances and six ground ambulances.

Car accidents a likely result of drinking and driving

When someone gets behind the wheel after he or she has consumed several alcoholic beverages, there is a possibility he or she may cause an accident. Impaired driving is the cause of many car accidents on California roads. Recently, a young man was arrested after police say he caused an accident that led to the deaths of four people and injuries to several others.

Hundreds of people were out enjoying a motorcycle festival in a local park when they witnessed a pickup truck fly off the bridge above them and land in their midst. In addition to the deaths, three people were seriously injured and several others had minor injuries. This marked the fifth time since 1980 that a vehicle has gone through the guardrails to crash in or near the park.

Motorcycle accidents involving high speed may be deadly

A vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed is a hazard because the driver is likely not considering the risks of his or her actions and may be unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. Motorcycle accidents involving speeding cars can be deadly to the motorcyclist, who has little protection against the impact of another vehicle. One family in California is mourning the loss of a loved one who died when a speeding car struck his motorcycle.

Just before midnight one recent night, a 60-year-old man was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by a Tesla speeding through an intersection. The operator of the motorcycle was thrown from his bike and pronounced dead by paramedics. Meanwhile, the driver of the car abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene of the accident.

Victims of car accidents may collect even if hit at workplace

A wrongdoer may cause a vehicular accident but at the same time get seriously injured himself. The serious injury or death of the wrongdoer will not stop the victims from their right to recover for personal injury damages. With respect to car accidents in California, the victims may make a claim for compensation for their injuries against the tortfeasor even if he is arrested due to criminal recklessness in the accident.

In fact, if the tortfeasor dies in the accident, the injured victims may make their claims to the decedent's estate. Recently in the state, a motorist traveling west on Avenue K at 20th Street East left the roadway and struck and seriously injured a Southern California Edison worker. The victim was repairing a power box when he got hit, according to Los Angeles County Detectives.

Man died, $10 million awarded in medical malpractice case

The incorrect administration of drugs is known to be one of the biggest areas of medical negligence in California and elsewhere. The issues that arise in such cases bring up the same questions of negligence and causation as in other medical malpractice cases. Whether any particular claim is a valid one will generally be determined after the plaintiff gets a review of the medical records and all other surrounding circumstances.

In a somewhat complicated case of drug causation, a jury awarded a family $10 million recently after concluding that the drug that the doctor gave to his patient caused the man's colon to self-destruct, resulting in his death. He went to the hospital in 2013 complaining of kidney problems. The doctor prescribed Kayexalate, a drug that is used to cut down the concentration of potassium in the body.

Forced-acceleration car accidents often involve elderly drivers

Elderly drivers tend to get involved in freak accidents where loss of control over the gas pedal is a factor. This often manifests through a car that is speeding out of control due to an accelerator pedal being stuck. Such car accidents are not that rare in California and other states. Although there is a variety of causes for cars racing out of control, against the will of the driver, the event does seem to occur more often when an elderly person is behind the wheel.

For example, on Sept. 3 an elderly driver rampaged his car through the parking lot of the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre while striking a fence, several pedestrians and a parked, unoccupied police vehicle. The impact sent the police car onto a lawn where it struck a group of people who were picnicking. Four of those picnickers were seriously injured by the patrol car. They were rushed to a hospital where they reportedly remained the next morning.

Hospitals hide from bereaved families 1,000s of superbug deaths

Another tragic problem has been uncovered in the health care industry. It involves a pattern of patient deaths due to a drug-resistant bacterial infection that is passed on to the patients, who are often infants, while they are receiving treatment in hospitals, including some here in Southern California. The situation has reached critical mass in some places. In one hospital, according to a Reuters research team, a whole neonatal ward of about a dozen babies died before the infection had subsided.   

The problem goes deeper. The hospitals and doctors have been executing death certificates that do not mention the drug-resistant bacterial infection. Instead, most of them list a sepsis infection associated with whatever condition was being treated. In the case of the babies the incredible reason listed on the birth certificates was being born "premature." According to the Reuters report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that about 23,000 people die each year from some 17 types of antibiotic-resistant diseases.